Thursday, December 01, 2011

Shooting the Feeders

Wildlife photography can be a hit-or-miss affair but snuggling up to a bird feeder tilts the odds in the photographer's favor. To capture this series of photographs I needed to be close so I set up my Ameristep Outhouse blind this morning ten feet away from the primary feeder.  This gave the birds a few hours to become comfortable with it before the afternoon shoot.  Once the sun had dropped a to a suitable angle it was time to enter the blind and wait for the shots to materialize.  The low-angle light illuminating this cardinal against a deeply shaded background made for a dramatic image.

 My goal is to always capture the birds in their natural surroundings.  To facilitate this our feeders are constructed from natural tree trunks with brush and weeds to provide cover and perches.  There is nothing wrong with shooting birds on man-made feeders; it's just not my style.

This cardinal paused while hopping from branch to branch through a dead poke weed as he approached the feeder.  The earthy browns contrasting with the cardinals brilliant reds, black face mask and shadows playing across his body made a striking image.

With so many perches for the birds to chose from lighting angles and backgrounds vary a great deal depending upon which perch the bird chooses.  With a rather shallow depth of field the distant woodland become a pleasing soft brown background.

For a productive session of wildlife photography setting up close to a busy bird feeder is a nearly sure-fire recipe for an action-packed outing.  And if you pay attention to details the resulting images may become some of your all-time favorites.



Lois Evensen said...

Wow! The Cardinals are exceptionally beautiful shots.

Robert Disney said...

Nice set of images, with the first being outstanding.

Unknown said...

Gorgeous use of light! I'm hoping to find a new pop up blind under the tree this year so that I can shoot wildlife without having to lug a super telephoto lens around.

Kjell T. Evensen said...

Beautiful images. Your first image is so impressive.

Brian King said...

Awesome photos, Coy! Love that first cardinal shot! The lighting is great.

Matt M said...

Great photos of the Cardinal. The first one is very good.